NEH Awards $1,000,000 Challenge Grant to Humanities Texas

WASHINGTON, (December 11, 2007)

Grant will help fund restoration of the Byrne-Reed House in Austin

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) today announced Humanities Texas as the recipient of a $1,000,000 Challenge Grant to help fund restoration of its new headquarters, the Byrne-Reed House, in downtown Austin. The restoration will recapture the architectural spirit of the century-old brick mansion, which is currently sheathed in a white stucco façade. Humanities Texas is one of 56 affiliate state humanities councils of the NEH.

Restoration will provide a historically rich location in which Humanities Texas can host programs and events. The state council also plans to use the restoration process as an educational opportunity. Humanities Texas hopes to work with historic preservation students at The University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture, and with organizations such as the Heritage Society of Austin, to organize educational workshops for students and the general public on the different phases of the renovation.

“With the restoration of the Byrne-Reed House, Humanities Texas will inhabit a new facility; one that preserves a cultural snapshot of the past while expanding its ability to offer innovative humanities programming well into the future,” said NEH Chairman Bruce Cole. “It will promote scholarship and the humanities in the capital, while engaging citizens, students, and scholars throughout Texas.”

Humanities Texas made the Byrne-Reed House its headquarters in 2006. The house is centrally located within an expanding cultural district that encompasses the Capitol building and the Texas State Library and Archives to the east; The University of Texas campus, the Blanton Museum of Art, and the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum to the north; and the vibrant arts community in downtown Austin to the south.

“We deeply appreciate National Endowment for the Humanities’ tremendous investment in our state,” said Humanities Texas Executive Director Michael L. Gillette. “Texans will now have a unique opportunity to show how much we value our heritage and culture. Once Humanities Texas has restored this hidden landmark, the Byrne-Reed House will become an important venue for exhibits, lectures, teacher workshops, and many other public programs.”

NEH challenge grants strengthen the humanities by encouraging non-federal sources of support. Challenge grant recipients are required to match NEH funds on a three-to-one or four-to-one basis, helping institutions and organizations secure long-term support for, and improvements in, their humanities programs and resources. Humanities Texas has already obtained more than $1,150,000 in pledges toward the match required. For more information on Humanities Texas, visit, or for a video presentation on the Byrne-Reed House, visit

Media Contacts:
Office of Communications: (202) 606-8446 |